I just got back revisions to a practice group description I wrote for a new client.

It’s worse. It’s a lot worse. Two attorneys got to it, and now it’s full of junk.

I write for a living. I have absolutely zero problem with other people revising my stuff. I truly don’t care, as long as it improves the end result. But the Hidden Filthy Secret of a lot of revisions done by lawyers is that they make the end product worse. What I’ve gotten back is larded with all kinds of pointless detail. Some of the sentences are unbelievably clunky and awkward. There aren’t really any themes remaining to hold everything together. It’s worse.

This happens more than you might imagine, particularly when you have two different people reviewing one piece of copy. Sometimes they will actually contradict each other, or insert mistakes, or simply muck something up.

Reading this revised stuff reminds me of those videos of industrial shredding machines that will grind up and digest anything — engine blocks, mattresses, entire cars, televisions. Anything. Everything eventually gets chopped, but the process includes a lot of clanking.

Which brings me to the second Hidden Filthy Secret of writing copy for law firms: I’m not going to try to talk them out of making this mess. From long and painful experience, I know that:

a) They’re not going to listen

b) It’s going to put the Marketing Director in a really awkward position

Also, in the end, it’s not my website, and the purpose of all this is to give them what they want. And if this is it, then this is it.

But man, I wish it wasn’t.

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